Even in industrial ports, the sheer grandeur and size of the Celebrity Equinox is staggering – it’s no wonder, the ship carries just under 3,000 passengers and crew – but size does not detract from its elegance. Nor does it mean that there aren’t intimate excursions if you choose wisely. On a market tour in Cozumel where brightly coloured, political-themed street murals mark the social revolution happening in the country, our group of 10 sat on wooden swing seats sipping cacao margaritas at the Mayan Cacao Company, tasted octopus tostadas at local restaurant Jacinta, and watched as executive chef Davide La Rocca chose ingredients for a six-course private dinner that night.
In Cartegena, I ventured off on my own to wander the old town where flowers spill over balconies and horse-drawn carriages clip-clop along the cobbled streets. A traditional Colombian christening, with the entire party dressed in white, was underway. Of course in some ports, the only way to get a true taste of the country you’re in is to venture further afield on organised trips. In Puerto Limon, I booked the Veragua Rainforest excursion, taking a cage-like aerial tram down into a dense jungle canopy and trekking to a waterfall, before standing in a magical butterfly garden as hundreds of the creatures flitted around us. In Colon, a guided tour of the impressive Panama Canal was a chance to buff up on my history.
A perfect ratio of six days docked to four days at sea, the beauty of this Ultimate Caribbean Cruise is that it can be any kind of voyage you desire. The ship boasts a library, two pools, a gym and running
Not only will you get a cabin in the
track that circumnavigates the top deck, a basketball court, casino and Canyon Ranch SpaClub (plus kids clubs to keep toddlers and teens amused). If it’s peace you’re after; then plump for the Aquaclass package.
The other nine restaurants are equally impressive. Lobster is prepared table-side in a flaming skillet at French Murano, while the dish to order at Asian Silk Harvest is shrimp tempura (Rita from guest relations promised it would be life changing – she wasn’t wrong). At each stop it’s worth waking early to watch the ship pull into the dock at sunrise. The view from the balcony-all turquoise ocean and rainforest as far as the eye can see – is a panoramic vista not visible once on land. When 11 nights have passed, you won’t want to sail home.